Again…Oxford University Celebrates the Poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain
July 30, 2023
In recognition of the poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain and in appreciation of his pioneering projects in the fields of culture, poetry, literature, and the Arabic language at both the Arab and international levels, Oxford University has chosen three verses from the poem "Eternal Creativity" in his third poetry collection, "Oghniyat Al-Fayafy" (Songs of the Deserts), to be elegantly inscribed in smooth Arabic script on a wooden panel, hanging prominently at the entrance of the Faculty of Oriental Studies - Department of Humanities at this esteemed English university. This panel catches the eye of anyone entering the hall, evoking a sense of affection, happiness, and pride among students, professors, and visitors, particularly Kuwaitis. It's a blend of emotions rooted in the deep bond with Arabic poetry and the timeless human values it carries across eras. These values find embodiment in the creative works of the poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, whose writings authentically portray his life, perspectives, principles, and stances.
The selection of these verses reflects Oxford University's awareness of the value of the message advocated by the poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain in his poetry. He has succeeded in practically achieving this message through the significant accomplishment he has presented over a long journey of cultural contributions across various domains.
Close to these verses that now grace the walls of Oxford University, lies the Peace Tree, planted by the poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain in the university's garden on June 2, 2016. The tree is adorned with inscriptions in both Arabic and English that read: "A gift from the Kuwaiti people to this scholarly institution as an expression of enduring affection and appreciation."
It's worth noting that this celebration is not the first honor bestowed upon poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain by Oxford University. The university had previously named the oldest Arabic language chair in England after him, known as the "Laudian Professorship." This chair was established by William Laud, the then Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, in 1636. The Laudian Professorship for Arabic Language is considered one of the most significant and oldest chairs that facilitated the presence of the Arabic language at the prestigious Oxford University.
The idea for the professorship was initiated in 1636 when William Laud recognized the absence of Arabic language studies at the university. He requested a friend of his, who was a religious representative of Britain in Aleppo, Syria, to deepen his study of the Arabic language and its literature. Upon his return, he was appointed to the position. Starting from September 15, 2016, the chair has been named the "Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Laudian Chair for Arabic Language."
Honoring a cultural figure of the caliber and stature of the esteemed poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain serves as a confirmation of his substantial contributions in the service of the Arabic language and Arab poetry, transcending the borders of Kuwait to reach various corners of the Arab world and beyond. This recognition stands as a tribute to Kuwait's significant civilizational, cultural, and humanitarian contributions.